After an almost three week break from Elite League racing the Lakeside Hammers return to the track this week in Cup action. They face the Birmingham Brummies over 2 legs, the first of which will be up in Birmingham tomorrow (Thursday), with the vital second leg due to take place 24 hours later on Friday evening at the Arena-Essex Raceway.
The Brummies will be led by two former Hammers riders Krzysztof Kasprzak and Daniel King. Kasprzak had spells with the Essex based Club in 2007 and 2010 whilst King had practiced at the Hammers Raceway as a junior prior to riding for them in the Premier League in 2003. The Brummies will also include their new signing Ulrich Ostergaard, who joined the Midlands based Club earlier this week, initially on a 28 day contract replacing the injured Ales Dryml. It will be Ostergaard’s second spell with the Brummies as he was part of their side when the Sport was re-launched in the City back in 2007. Swede Daniel Nermark and Dane Claus Vissing are also included along with James Wright, who shares a doubling up role with the Club with Kevin Wolbert. The Brummies will be using the ‘Rider Replacement’ facility on Friday at the Arena-Essex Raceway as both Ben Barker and Joe Screen, their other doubling up pairing, are unavailable due to them having commitments with their Premier League clubs.
The Hammers will be at full strength, apart from their Australian rider, Adam Shields, who was injured at the Hammers Raceway last Friday whilst racing for his Country in the second Test Match against Great Britain. Shields rides will be covered by use of the ‘Rider Replacement’ facility, which will allow any one of the Hammers team to take an additional ride. The latest news on Adam’s injury is that he left Basildon Hospital yesterday (Tuesday) but he must return in a week after the swelling on his knee has improved so that a full diagnosis of the ligament damage can be made. He is confident of a return to racing in July.
This week’s Cup encounters against Birmingham are important for both clubs and Jon Cook, the Hammers Co Promoter commented: “This is an excellent opportunity for us to get the season back on track. There are only two competitions to win and the Cup means a huge deal to us after our 2009 win.”
The second leg at the Arena-Essex Raceway on Friday gets underway at the usual time of 8pm first race with the Grand Parade of riders scheduled for 7.45pm.